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Kayaking for a cure

Father kayaks in honor of his daughter

Linda Wells, 25, of Mechanicville, was diagnosed with peritoneal Mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the abdominal cavity, at the age of 16.

Linda Wells, 25, of Mechanicville, was diagnosed with peritoneal Mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the abdominal cavity, at the age of 16. Submitted photo

— Linda Wells loved to dance.

“She danced since she was a little girl and was teaching the little guys at the dance studio, which she loved to do,” said Mark Wells, Linda’s father.

It’s been said “all good things must come to an end,” but Linda’s dancing should never have been one of them.

At the age of 15, Linda started having health problems. The Mechanicville teenager was nauseous, constantly fatigued and in near-constant pain. For a year, her symptoms left doctors and specialists baffled; until the pain became unbearable and she ended up in the emergency room, where someone ran a CT scan.

“They noticed the first tumor, which they operated on right away and took care of that, but there were more tumors they didn’t take care of,” said Wells.

Wells finally knew what was wrong with his daughter but the diagnosis was a grim one. Linda had peritoneal Mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the abdominal cavity.

“Everything I read was not very good. Nine years ago, when we first learned and did research, the average life expectancy was about 12 months, but also on the other hand, the normal age for someone to get this is 60 or 70,” said Wells.

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Nobody knows for sure where Linda came in contact with the asbestos that caused her cancer.

“Everybody has theories, nothing we could say for sure. I was in the automobile business so I handled brake parts but we don’t know that,” said Wells. “The schools she went to had asbestos and the house she grew up in had asbestos siding. There are a lot of different variables.”

Linda is preparing for her sixth surgery to remove tumors that are aggressively returning, but she’s already beaten the odds. Now at the age of 25, she’s in constant pain and can experience tiredness and nausea, but she tries her hardest to live a normal life.

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